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Starting Vegetable Transplants

Most vegetable transplants except the cucurbit family (cucumbers, cantaloupes, squash, and watermelons) need about 6 weeks from seeding until plants are ready to set out in the garden. Cucurbits only need 3 weeks and may even be seeded directly in the garden. Commonly, transplants are started far too early, perhaps as much as 12 to 14 weeks before the ideal garden planting date for that species. The resulting plants outgrow the cell pack container (both the root area available to the plant and the top area or space available to the transplant) and create undesirable conditions -- plants that are potbound with the roots throughout plus completely encircling the outer edge of the potting soil in the cell pack, and tops that are spindly and weak due to crowded competition for light. It's not difficult to calculate the proper time to start seeds. For example ...

Please download .pdf file below for the complete article.

Provided courtesy of the Virginia Cooperative Extension at www.ext.vt.edu.